Firefox 29 is winging its way to hundreds of millions of people as we speak, and it brings with it the set of changes we’ve been calling Australis: an interface streamlining, evolution, or complete overhaul, depending on who you talk to. It represents years of concepting, designing, building, testing, rebuilding and shipping. We’re extremely pleased and proud that it’s ready for you to use.
This is the most beautiful and detailed version of Firefox yet. Along with the immediately apparent visual improvements, I’m also really proud of the care and craft that’s gone into how the browser feels, especially the way controls respond as you use them.
Every bit of the new interface has been finely-tuned to be fast and simple. The forward button is only shown when it is relevant; the downloads button shows progress only when there is progress to show; the bookmarks button makes it clear where your bookmarks can be found.
I think I’m most proud of how simple and engaging it is now to spend time customizing the browser. The process of configuring a browser could easily have felt like a chore, but instead I think we’ve built it in a way that people will explore, enjoy, and revisit until they’ve really made Firefox their own.
This is also not a finish line so much as a new firmer foundation. Firefox’s new design provides a better more extensible interface model that will accommodate future features and additions. It’s a simpler presentation of add-ons as equals to built-in browser features. And it finally brings us a familiar look and feel across all our platforms so that Firefox feels like Firefox everywhere.
For those of you interested in how we got here, the Australis redesign was shaped and focused by our Firefox Design Values. While they all come into play, certain of them were particularly relevant here.
The You help make it and Balances power and simplicity principles flow into customization as a top-level priority. That balance is different for everyone, which is why we feel it is important to give you the choice to make Firefox yours.
The animation in interactions like bookmarking is an expression of our Exuberance value. There’s a liveliness to the way the controls respond and explain what’s happening, as in way that the browser resizes when you enter the new customization mode.
There’s a lot to say about the particulars of the design, but others are already doing this extremely well. Here’s a list of other design posts, which I’ll keep up to date.
Further design writing on Australis and Firefox 29
- An introduction to the project when we landed on Nightly.(Madhava Enros)
- Posts about the update/first run experience
- More detail on why what is placed where in the interface (Zhenshuo Fang)
- How we measure usage and success (Blake Winton)
- More detail on how to use customization (Philipp Sackl)
- A perspective on large UI change in a mature product (Jennifer Morrow)
- A design retrospective of the Australis project from the very beginning (Stephen Horlander)
A huge heartfelt thank you to all the Mozillians who helped to make Australis real — we’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time. And thank you, everyone, for using the new Firefox!